WSBB Blog: The Way II
For as long as humanity has existed, people have possessed a sense to survive and avoid death at all costs. Ancient cultures had many obstacles to contend with in their day-to-day life. Daily, these ancient humans had to worry about starvation, attacks from wild animals, exposure to harsh elements, and various other dangers capable of swiftly serving them a gruesome death.
As we progress through the timeline of existence, the need to survive becomes the driving force that led to many significant technological advancements. As humanity moved into modern times, specifically the late 1800s to the early 1900s, humans began living more comfortably than ever before. While having escaped the constant threat of death being one mistake away, the average citizen could abandon thoughts of survival for thoughts of safety, often thinking how the citizen can make their life more comfortable.
Continuing through the 1900s, the speed at which technological advancements were made became astounding. More than ever, the average citizen was capable of living a life of comfort nearly similar to that of a King in the 1500s. With technology advancing exponentially, the average human began relying heavily on machines and advanced tools to accomplish physical tasks that were once completed by their ancestors using skill and physical prowess.
Then we reach current times, where the average citizen can accomplish almost any task using a computer or other electronic device. Physical strife or struggle is greatly resisted by the average human, with most people getting only a small percentage of the physical activity their superior ancestors experienced. In today's world, we desperately avoid discomfort, focusing intently on ways to reach our goals in the easiest, safest way possible.
What has caused this need for comfort? Comfort itself. Comfort and safety become like drugs. Similar to a drug addict without a fix, the average human cannot deal with the idea of their health and safety being put into any kind of jeopardy at all. Humanity has chosen the easy route for a long time, which has led to the slow degradation of human intelligence and physicality. It is safe to say that today's modern human is merely a shell of what their ancestors were, all due to the constant need for comfort.
You're probably asking yourself how this relates to strength training. Well, it is simple, the same phenomenon experienced by humanity throughout history responsible for the destruction of the mind, willpower, and physicality of the average human is happening in strength sports.
Powerlifting is a sport that has become popular due to social media exposure, leading to increased awareness and participation. With the increase in the sport's popularity, it is natural that many average individuals have decided to either participate in the sport or participate in the marketplace.
Lifters, trainers, coaches, physical therapists, everybody has joined the strength training community. Some in search of numbers, some in search of clients to help, and some out to just make a dollar. What else has this increase in popularity brought about? The average Joe's need for comfort and safety. Daily you read post after post talking about movement, injuries, mobility, recovery, and safety.
Why has this happened? It's simple, once ordinary people become involved in something, they bring the average Joe hivemind along with them. What does the average Joe concern themselves with? Comfort and safety. Now, we see popular training doctrine begin to change. Instead of training to get stronger, the average modern lifter trains to avoid injury.
The preoccupation with injury is something you constantly see today. Instead of preaching the virtues of having a strong mind and body, you see influencers attempting to create followings by creating fear of injury or failure amongst their followers that can only be solved by some arcane knowledge they possess.
If you genuinely want to become the best lifter you can be, and better yet, the strongest human you can be mentally and physically, you must abandon the fear-based approach to training. Ask yourself, are you as tough as a powerlifter from 30 years ago? Maybe you can lift more than them, but would you want to fight them to the death? Do you even have the drive to defend yourself, or would the fear of death cause you to freeze?
To become the best athlete you can become, you must attain mental freedom. This is done by working to abandon all fears related to personal health, comfort, and safety, developing a do-or-die mindset. If you want to be truly competitive, you must accept any terms that come with competition. This means win, lose, draw, or injury; your mentality stays the same. Resist the mental comforts of modern lifting, reject the messages spewed by individuals that incite fear and worry in your mind.
Abandon the idea that you are fragile. Humans are incredibly resilient, and chances are you will never experience a catastrophic injury while lifting anyway. This message is for those who wish to perform at the highest level of sport, not people who merely want to participate. Embrace the chance of injury and discomfort the same way your superior ancestors embraced the possibility of death on a daily basis. Reclaim your confidence in your abilities, and abandon the "but I could get hurt" mentality.
Being the best requires reaching levels others cannot reach. Avoid the herd mentality, reject the message of comfort, weakness, and fear pushed by barbell charlatans, and bet on yourself. You may win, you may lose, and you may get hurt, but you can't let your mind give a fuck. All you can do is free your mind of fear and go for it.